Matthew 1-3

We’ve moved into our regular study of the scriptures. So far it seems to be going well. I am trying to focus my lessons on the expectation that the kids have read so that we get into some good habits of reading while they are still excited about Seminary.

Matthew 1-2

I talked to the kids briefly about our very first lesson when I taught that there were two things we could do to become friends with Christ: obedience, and be like those who were his friends during his earthly ministry. I started out the kids with some handouts from the BYU studies website (https://byustudies.byu.edu/chartingnt/browse.aspx). If you pay the fee, you can get the charts that have a brief introduction to the four evangelists and the purposes of their books. This information is also contained in the Bible Dictionary. I used both in my teaching.

After we finished reading aloud BD, Matthew, I mentioned some of the characteristics Matthew had that would make him a friend of Christ. We also read the bit in Mark 2 about Levi/Matthew quitting his job and holding a party with his friends to meet the Savior. He had good news and had met the Messiah and wanted his friends to know it. Matthew knew the Old Testament well. I taught his purpose was to teach the Jews about the Messiah, and so he started his story with a list of Jesus’ genealogy. I asked if the kids remembered any of those names in the genealogy. They did! I had to explain that Booz is Boaz, husband of Ruth. They were able to remember the prophecies about the Messiah — that he would be a descendant of David.

I read this quote from THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST, Michael K. Parson, from the 2000 CES Conference (https://si.lds.org/bc/seminary/content/library/conferences/nt/the-birth-…) that quotes Talmage in Jesus the Christ:

“In all the persecutions waged by His implacable haters, in all the false accusations brought against Him, in the specific charges of sacrilege and blasphemy based on His acknowledgment of the Messiahship as His own, no mention is found of even an insinuation that He could not be the Christ through any ineligibility based on lineage. . . .

“At the time of the Savior’s birth, Israel was ruled by alien monarchs. The rights of the royal Davidic family were unrecognized; and the ruler of the Jews was an appointee of Rome. Had Judah been a free and independent nation, ruled by her rightful sovereign, Joseph the carpenter would have been her crowned king; and his lawful successor to the throne would have been Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 79–80, 87).

We then moved on and I had a student summarize the rest of chapter one from his reading. After a little time correcting some incorrect notions about the Wise Men, I used chart on page 11 of the student guide to help the kids think about what people do with their knowledge of Christ. I had to cover this pretty fast. I moved the tiny Jesus on the wall map I told you about last week, and it was over!

Super Scripture Mastery Girl passed off another passage after class, too. That’s either 5 or 6 in just over a week. Wow. The kids commented on the Death Star scripture mastery chart and declared it superior to our light sabers from last year. I hope the novelty helps keep their interest.

Matthew 3

Today we covered the baptism of Christ. We talked about John the Baptist and I briefly covered his role as an Elias. We read most of the BD, Baptism entry. I pointed out the major doctrinal points from the entry. Then I had a student come up and illustrate the baptism of Jesus while the others told her what to draw. This didn’t work out as well as I thought it would…. I may should have picked someone who had done this in my class before since it was the first time we did it this year. It was okay, just not great.

I used the triple example from the manual to have the kids talk about the Godhead. Then we played member/nonmember for the kids to show how Matthew 3:13-17 demonstrates the doctrine of three separate personages in the godhead. Zone leaders (who played nonmembers) chose their best missionary to face me. The nonmembers did a surprisingly good job questioning their members. When it was my turn the kids did a good job holding up. All of my students have been Mormon nearly all of their lives and are unfamiliar with the idea of the Trinity. One boy in particular did a very good job responding to my questions. Member/Nonmember is such a good activity for training up future missionaries. I hope that they understand enough about other’s faith to not be threatened or to get defensive or freeze up when discussing doctrines with others. This, to me, is one of the great blessings of Seminary. We can talk about things that are difficult hopefully before they come up so that kids can be prepared with a “ready answer”. I remember not being ready when I was a kid and certain things were brought up. I could explain doctrines and even give scriptural evidence, but I couldn’t always find the scriptures I needed. It just doesn’t work to testify without that written word to establish what you’re saying. Tomorrow I will bring up the law of witnesses and its place in missionary work. Three witnesses–our word, the scriptures, and the holy ghost–will establish the Word.

For devotional today the student chose John 10:16 (“other sheep have I which are not of this fold”). He told me right before that he didn’t know for sure if he had his reading right, but he was going to go with it. He said the verse was about missionary work (which is correct) and told a story about going on splits. It reminded me that these kids are still learning the gospel. Sometimes I forget that there are probably some gaps in their learning — even those that are lifelong members and very knowledgeable. I’m always learning, too, and I hope that Seminary putties in some of those gaps for them.

And more

The kids are very happy that the weather has cooled off. Today I think it will be rainy. The Seminary kids said their coaches said a big storm is coming. I hope it has blown past by the time that I have to go to the Patawomeck Heritage Foundation meeting.

I’ve been so busy this week trying to get things in order for our trip. I got the DAR notes transcribed and helped a friend with a movie for a grant she was applying for and took another friend to the doctor. Today I have several orders to fill and a long list of things to do. The house is a mess and I’ve got to get some more laundry done before our trip.

This area is making food donations to help the needy as part of the Virginia Day of Service, and our stake president asked us to give until it was uncomfortable. Frankly, anything is uncomfortable right now, since we are about to go on a trip and the car needs to be worked on. However, I do realize that the very fact that I’m able to say the words “going on a trip to the Mediterranean” shows how blessed we really are. So, Jared and I took the kids to the store for FHE last night and filled up a cart with canned foods and delivered it to the church last night. I didn’t want to come in with a whole ton of stuff when church was going on, and I asked the kids not to say what we had given. The kids don’t really remember when Jared lost his job for those 11 months. It makes me a little sad that they don’t remember what being totally broke is like. We’re not government, and Jared’s job, like any other, could disappear at any time. I hope that the blessings we have now can help someone who is struggling.